PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For a third consecutive night, throngs of protesters gathered in downtown Portland in a display of displeasure with the election of Donald Trump who will become the nation’s 45th president.
Police were on high-alert after Wednesday’s graffiti and vandalism, but things escalated to extremes Thursday.
A peaceful protest started in Pioneer Courthouse Square at 5 p.m. Demonstrators began to march around 6 p.m. and joined another group gathered at the waterfront.
Hundreds of marchers blocked traffic, as organizers said they would do. They took over the Hawthorne Bridge, stopping cars on the roadway and climbing railings.
The crowd continued marching into Northeast Portland, where protesters spray painted on buildings. The group that came from downtown was set to meet up with another protest group near Lloyd Center at Holladay Park.
By 8:30 p.m. Thursday night’s events escalated and Portland police considered it a riot. Police said it was due to “extensive criminal and dangerous behavior.”
Police warned the crowd that they were subject to arrest for participation in a riot. The crime of riot is a Class C felony.
Around 4,000 protesters joined in the riot as the night went on, police said.
Rioters were seen spraying anti-Trump messages across the city. One person smashed the glass at a TriMet bus shelter in Northeast Portland. Someone else was seen running through a Toyota car dealership lot, smashing at least 7 car windows.
Portland police said the crowd was throwing projectiles at officers around 9 p.m.
The crowd moved into the Pearl District and smashed windows at local restaurants and other businesses.
Police said rioters armed themselves with rocks from a construction site. Smoke was seen in a dumpster at NW 13th Avenue and Hoyt Street.
Officers in riot gear blocked the crowd at W Burnside Street and Broadway, telling anyone wishing to continue peacefully demonstrating to head to Pioneer Courthouse Square. Anyone who stayed could be associated with violent anarchists, police said.
Shortly after 10 p.m. police warned people around the North Park Blocks that they would be placed under arrest if they did not leave. Some people were seen being taken into custody. PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson said a number of people were arrested.
The crowd that reassembled in Pioneer Courthouse Square remained peaceful.
Around 1,500 people began marching again at 10:45 p.m.
Police from multiple agencies in riot gear continued to follow the group.
Self-proclaimed peaceful protesters passed The Portland Plaza on SW 5th Avenue where a window was reportedly broken. A resident came outside and confronted the crowd while holding a gun. Some claimed he pointed it at people.
The crowd continued moving throughout downtown Portland and were once again blocked by police around 11:30 p.m. Officers used loudspeakers to tell the crowd to disperse and move east or be subject to arrest by riot-control agents.
A flash bang went off at SW 6th Avenue and Yamhill Street shortly after.
Police reportedly used other anti-riot tactics including rubber bullets to break up the crowd.
Rioters continued breaking windows and destroying property.
Mayor Charlie Hales said he supports the peaceful protest of people exercising their Constitutional rights. But, he said, “Walking onto freeways and blocking the MAX light-rail lines is dangerous for everyone involved, and it puts a heavy burden on people just trying to make it home to their families or get to work safely.”
Cleanup crews Thursday morning tried to cover graffiti on the historic Thompson Elk statue in the heart of downtown Portland left by anti-Trump protesters Wednesday night.
Vulgarities were covered by a wrap though some writing can still be vaguely seen on the base of the elk statue, on Main between SW 3rd and 4th. Portland police said they’re preparing for future protests and addressing the vandalism.
Hales said, “Vandalism and destruction of private and public property in our city cannot, and will not be tolerated. I ask everyone to look out for their fellow Portlanders–we all need to put safety first.”
Portland activist Gregory R. McKelvey, who has been one of the organizers of recent Portland protests connected with Don’t Shoot PDX, said the group is now called Portland’s Resistance. He released the following statement mid-afternoon Thursday:
“We are gathering today at Pioneer Square 5 PM. Our group does not condone violence, vandalism or destruction in any way. However, it is not our job to censor anyones activism. If we were to do that, we might as well call the police ourselves. Our job is to lead by example and that example will be peace.”
Portland wasn’t the only community experiencing protests on Thursday.
Protesters managed to shut down Interstate 25 near downtown Denver briefly Thursday night during a demonstrations against Trump’s election
Denver police tweeted around 10 p.m. that demonstrators made their way onto the freeway and traffic was halted in the northbound and southbound lanes. Police say the interstate was reopened about half an hour later as the crowd moved back downtown.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many protesters walked onto the highway. A crowd of several hundred had been marching through downtown Denver earlier in the evening waving anti-Trump signs. Officers in cruisers and on bicycles were monitoring the situation.
Earlier protests in Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs on Wednesday and Thursday went off peacefully.
In Chicago, demonstrators gathered for a second day outside the Trump Tower to protest the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th president.
One day after thousands marched around the city’s business district blocking traffic and gathering at the 98-story hotel and condominium, about 50 people demonstrated at the building Thursday.
One protester, 24-year-old Jessica Orman, says the demonstrators aren’t happy with the president-elect and “we’re trying to let everyone know that.”
The demonstrators were met with cheers from several people shopping and dining in the area, while at least one person driving by shouted they should “shut up and accept democracy.”
Thousands have been gathering in cities across the nation to voice opposition to Trump’s election. Trump was on Twitter on Thursday, calling the demonstrators “professional protesters, incited by the media.”___
In Minneapolis, protesters blocked Interstate 94 after demonstrators marched from an anti-Donald Trump rally at the University of Minnesota.
Traffic was blocked in both directions on the heavily traveled highway Thursday night.
It was the second night of protests in the Twin Cities over Trump’s election as president. Similar protests popped up in cities across the nation both Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The Star Tribune reports demonstrators entered I-94 after marching down Franklin Avenue. The protesters blocked both lanes and chanted “Shut it down.”
Officers from the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments rushed to the area with lights flashing. A line of protesters faced officers on the freeway.
Anti-Trump protesters also staged a demonstration in St. Paul on Wednesday night.
President-elect Donald Trump returned to Twitter, taking on the protesters who have gathered in cities across the nation since his election.
Trump tweets: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”
Thousands have been gathering in cities from New York to Dallas to San Francisco to voice opposition to Trump’s election.
Trump’s complaint Thursday about the media echoes the rhetoric of his campaign, when he railed against the press as “disgusting” and “dishonest.”